Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Knowing the Difference

Generally, people who have schizoaffective disorder experience psychotic symptoms — such as hallucinations, disorganized thinking and paranoid thoughts — as well as a mood disturbance, such as depressed or manic mood. They tend to be very antisocial and shunned by the people around them.  Psychotic features and mood disturbances may occur at the same time or may appear on and off interchangeably. The course of the schizoaffective disorder usually features cycles of severe symptoms followed by an improved outlook. To establish a diagnosis, a person must have demonstrated, at some point, delusions or hallucinations for at least two weeks without evidence of mood disorder symptoms.  Most commonly, the mood disorder accompanying the schizophrenic features is either bipolar disorder (bipolar-type schizoaffective) or depression (depressive-type schizoaffective).
Signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may include:
  • Strange or unusual thoughts or perceptions
  • Paranoid thoughts and ideas
  • Delusions — having false, fixed beliefs
  • Hallucinations, such as hearing voices
  • Unclear or confused thoughts (disorganized thinking)
  • Bouts of depression
  • Manic mood or a sudden increase in energy and behavioral displays that are out of character
  • Irritability and poor temper control
  • Thoughts of suicide or homicide
  • Irrelevant or incoherent speech
  • Catatonic behavior — lack of response, sometimes with an extreme agitation that's not influenced by the environment
  • Deficits in attention and memory
  • Lack of concern about hygiene and physical appearance
  • Changes in energy and appetite
  • Sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep*
I don't feel like rehashing the whole drama of yesterday that briefly short-circuited me.  Today, my arm hurts like a bitch, mostly because it's cold outside which makes it necessary to wear shirts with sleeves, and the sleeves keep rubbing up against the scratches, which aren't quite scabbed over yet.  I am really surprised by the blueness of the bruise still. Showering the morning was quite painful, and that was after I had to peel the gauze I wrapped over the cuts last night off the open wound.

For the positive: I received a phone call today from the office where I interviewed last Friday and again yesterday, and was offered the job!  After I left the interview yesterday, I had a really good feeling about it, and was about 90% sure I was going to get the job.  I'll be starting next Wednesday, and I'm a little nervous because the hours right now are three days a week from 7:30am to 5:00pm.  That's a long time.  It's a long time to be sitting at a desk without a formal break, and it's a long time to leave Phoenix at home.  But it's also a lot of hours to be racking up in three days.  I'll really have to work hard at reminding myself that I do still have four days each week off to catch up on sleep.

I'm also really nervous because I want to do a really good job and I don't want to ever have to be called into any offices to have "the talk" where I'm reprimanded for being late too many times or missing work too many days.  However, I know for a fact that I can do a better and more formal job than the person who is at the desk currently, as I sat observing her for the ten minutes I waited yesterday because I was early.  I'm definitely worried, though.

What I'm most excited about is that I feel like I'm opening up a new chapter of my life.  This will allow me to stop taking unemployment, and move out of my parents house.  I need to be looking at this job as the job I will be working in for the next couple of years of my life until I can get my shit back together and finish school.  This is also a great opportunity for me to make enough money to pay CU off, so that I can have my student loans deferred by going back to school, and I'll also be totally able to actually spend a couple of days each week attending class all day.  I think this is a really wonderful change for me.  I've already started looking into places to live, contacted a few people and I'll be looking at a few places in the next few weeks.

This is my chance.  To be the grown-up I want to be and to make the changes I want to see in my life.  Obviously this is not the best job or the most grown-up job I could have, but it's enough to get me on my feet again and prepare me for what's ahead.

I'm so excited.  I loved working in Downtown Boulder, more than I loved working anywhere else.  I'll be getting a parking pass, so I can spend a little more extra time there, and if I move there I can walk and ride my bike places again.  I can walk out the door and smell the intensely fresh air, I can be the only one in the office on days when it's snowed 3 feet because I lived so close I could walk, and I can make new friends and meet a whole ton of new people!  What could be better??  Okay, working as an EMT might be, but I'm starting out here making more money than I'd make working for an ambulance company.  I've been told there is a lot of down time when I'm not assisting tenants and answering phones, so I'm going to have time to read and work on my book and my break-up kit business.  I honestly cannot think of one negative aspect of this new job!!

On top of that, Jamie got her first vet tech job, and I am beyond excited for her.  I know that she will do so fabulously!  The fact that she and I both got offered jobs on the same day, when we've both been struggling so much for quite awhile, gives me hope that things (not just in my life or her life, but the big picture) are getting better.

I feel strong and confident right now, which is a nice change.  I've been feeling strong and confident lately, but last night's meltdown really made a dent in my resolve.  As for right now, we get to have an overnight with the kiddos, all three, on Saturday night, and I haven't seen them since August, so I'm even more excited, if it's even possible!!

In order to lessen the disappointment I may be feeling at any given time in the next few weeks, I'm going to stick to my mantra - one thing at a time.  Right now, it's to end my current job and start my new job.  I'm really wanting to dive into planning to move out, but I have to staunch that before it bleeds all over the place.

Today is my parents' 31st wedding anniversary.  They've never had an opportunity to do something big and huge and fun for an anniversary and I have wanted to be able to send them on a trip or something since I was about 20.  I'll probably have to do it without the help of my sisters, at least until my little sister graduates from college, since my older sister will never be able to handle a large amount of money without blowing it on insignificant shit.

So it's on to bigger and better things!!!

*"Schizoaffective Disorder: Symptoms -" Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living - Web. 17 Nov. 2010. <>.

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